(Contains slight spoiler implications for Angel Season 5 episode DAMAGE featuring slayer Dana.)
Buffy woke to the strangest feeling. Well, not strange, just different. She knew Graham was lying beside her on the bed. That wasn't the different part. She had fallen asleep after her bath without clothes on, not even his shirt. It was somewhere on the bed. His fingers inside of her coupled with his mouth on one of her breasts was the different part.
He seemed to sense when she woke up and increased his mouth's pressure at the swell of her breast. She moved her body against his fingers. How could she not? It was instinctive. And his fingers felt very good inside of her. Her release came quick and hard, which she imagined had been his intention.
"Mm, hi," she said, stretching before she rolled onto her side to face him. "How was your day?"
"Good to hear." She kissed him, snuggling against his chest. "I can't say I've ever been woken up like that."
"I couldn't resist. The sheet was off just enough to tempt me."
"Well, don't let me stop you from tempting you anytime."
"I'll remember that."
"So, we're still having dinner?"
"Yeah, as long as it's not too uncomfortable for you."
"Nope, not for me. I'm fine with it."
"You sure? Riley and I weren't sure."
"I'm fine. Better than fine. Besides, I think Xander's kind of looking forward to it. He liked Riley."
"I get that."
"Not that he dislikes you."
"I know." He kissed the top of her head. "It's fine, Buffy. I couldn't believe he was standing there this morning."
"Oh God, me neither. I mean, what are the odds. You've been here a month, right? And he chooses this morning to make an appearance."
"I can't say I minded too much."
"No, I like him seeing we're together."
"Yup, can't get much more together than we are. You're living here."
"I wasn't planning on staying here forever. I mean, I'm not a freeloader."
"Well, that's up to you. It's not like we just met a month ago. You can still stay in Dawn's room if that makes you feel better. I can't say I'd mind you being here, whether this room becomes our room. I'm sure Dawn would like to have her room back eventually."
"Unless she takes up with Xander."
She covered her eyes with her hand and let out a sigh. "Don't even talk about that right now."
"It's not funny! She's my sister!"
"So, it's okay for you to have sex."
"Yes, exactly! She'll always be my baby sister."
"I get it. Okay, I'll refrain, but this dinner tonight, we're all like couples."
"Yeah, I noticed that, too. And since you woke me up in such a nice way, I'll even let you pick out which dress I wear if you want to."
"I'm not up on dresses."
"Well, I'll try on a couple and you can tell me which you like best."
"Got any that will show this off," he said, grazing the fresher of the marks along the top of her breasts.
"You're bad, and a little mean."
"And a little possessive. I admit it."
"Hmm, I'll see what I can do. In the meantime," she said, tugging his shirt out of his pants and working the fasteners. "Since you woke me up so nice, let me repay the favor."
"I didn't just wake up."
"No, but, possessive one, you'll sit at the table knowing you've just been inside of me."
He groaned softly. His eyes drifted closed as her hand stroked him.
"You like that idea?"
"That should bother me, but it really doesn't."
"That's good, because it is what it is."
"A guy thing?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"Is your leg okay?"
"Yes," he said.
She knew he'd probably walked around and done more on the prosthetic than he had since getting it outside of therapy.
He opened his eyes then, meeting her gaze straight on. "Would that stop you?"
"If you were in a lot of pain? Yes, I mean, unless you wanted me to continue."
"I'll remember that."
"I'm sure you will," she said, moving on top of him and over him, taking him inside of her.
"So, how long have you been here in London, Buffy? We'd heard rumors, but no one seemed to know for sure. "
Here come the questions. Sam hadn't been there that morning when Riley had said he wouldn't tell anyone where she was. She wondered if she could hold Sam to the same degree of confidence. She had to trust Riley had told her about their agreement before coming to dinner tonight. Buffy had to admit, she liked Sam. She liked her more this time than the first time they'd met. The shock factor wasn't there. And, well, she'd moved on from Riley. He was no longer her most recent ex.
She didn't bother telling them that there was a reason they would have gotten convoluted rumors. Sightings of Buffy at different places simultaneously, or very close together as to be impossible. Unless she could teleport, which wasn't her thing.
"Since early summer. We've been busy working, gathering slayers and information, building from scratch what was lost. Centuries of stuff. Some was backed up, but some was lost for good."
"I can't imagine you're too choked up about that," Riley said.
"No, in some ways. The Council was archaic and needed to be brought into the twenty-first century. Now that Giles and I are in charge, we can do that. It just takes time, especially when there are watchers and employees who survived. They're not too keen on change."
"I bet," Sam said.
"But, Buffy's slowly winning them over," Xander offered. "She has that way with people. They eventually give in." He frowned then as everyone looked at him. "I guess that didn't sound so good. It sounded more complimentary in my head."
"We know what you mean, Xander," Riley offered.
Graham's hand was locked with Buffy's, resting against his thigh. She hadn't been able to find a dress to his specifications. Close, but not quite.
"I don't always stay in London. I just happened to be here when Graham came last month, and I'll be here until he's released for field duty."
"He's going to go out in the field with you?" Leave it to Riley to question it. "Buffy, you can't be serious."
"Why not? He wants to go, I can use someone who's good with the research and knows the monsters. Book knowledge just isn't good enough anymore. At least not for anyone traveling with me. I need someone I know isn't going to freeze."
"I guess you have a point. It just seems foolish," Riley said.
"Well, I'm not you and I don't work for you, so it's not your call to make." Graham gave her hand a squeeze. "He may get there and realize he's not ready, but that's his decision to make not mine."
"And what, he loses something else? I haven't asked how Xander lost his eye."
"And it's none of your business. We've all lost stuff and suffered, Riley. I died. Can't get much more suffering and loss than that."
"Buffy," Xander said. She knew he was trying to calm her down. The loss of his eye was a sore spot for Buffy. She doubted anyone had any idea how much of one. She still had visions of that day, went over the events in her mind. Unfortunately, with the limited information she had going into that battle, there was nothing she could have done differently. Other than just not go. But flying by the seat of her pants hadn't failed her to that point.
"No, listen, I had a nice time. Dinner was good. It was great seeing you two again, I'm glad you found Graham and were able to spend the day with him. But there's one great thing about being someone's ex, nothing requires me to take crap from him."
She stood from the table, releasing Graham's hand in the process. She could tell he was a little surprised.
"I'm glad you're doing well, Riley, but I'm sorry to see you haven't really changed. You should be supporting your friend in trying to do something not condemning him before he's even tried. I'm going to take you at your word earlier that you're not going to go back to your commanding officers, or whoever's looking for me, and tell them my address. If for no other reason, you'd be putting your friend out of not just a place to live but a decent job."
"I'm going to catch a taxi, stay and have a good time. I'll see the rest of you at home," she said and walked away.
The restaurant they'd decided on was close to Riley and Sam's hotel so a taxi wasn't hard to come by. She waved one down, pulling out her cell phone as she slid into the backseat, giving the driver her address.
"Hi, it's Buffy."
"Well, hello ‘it's Buffy'."
"Where are you?"
"I'm near LA, actually. One of my locate spells indicated there was a slayer here, but I'm having a hard time finding her."
"Oh?" Willow didn't generally have that problem once she'd gotten a lock on a slayer.
"Yeah, it's really weird. It's like she's there one minute, gone the next minute. If I didn't know better, I'd think she could teleport."
"Is that possible?"
"Well, anything's possible, that's why I'm here. I'm going to sit tight until she becomes a little dot on my map again."
"How goes it?"
She exhaled sharply.
"That good, huh?"
"We had dinner with Riley and Sam tonight."
"All of us. Graham, Xander, Dawn, and me. You were invited, but of course you weren't here."
"Right. So, what brought this on?"
"You'll never believe it."
She laughed then. "Okay, you will believe it," she said, and continued to fill Willow in on the details.
"Hmm. And you just left?"
"Well, yeah. What kind of woman would I be if I let him put Graham down like that?"
"Oh, I understand completely. I'd have done the same thing if it was someone I loved or cared about."
"You would have?"
"Well, yeah, I mean, that's why I love or care about them. Right? And you do care?"
"Well, then you're okay. I'm sure he'll understand."
"I don't know. He gets kind of touchy when he thinks I'm putting him down or protecting him in front of other people."
"Understandable given his circumstances. He's a big boy, and wants to prove to everyone he still is. You already seem to know."
"Yes, I do."
"Willow, that's not what I meant."
"Oh, so you haven't?"
"I didn't say that either."
Willow laughed. "So, when does Dawn get her room back?"
"I don't know, we're still working out that type of thing. He said earlier today he had planned on looking for something else."
"But that was before you found out he still."
"Well, no, but I mean. Hold on," Buffy said, pulling enough money out of her wallet to cover the taxi fare and a tip. "Thanks," she said to the driver. "I took a cab home," Buffy said by way of explanation.
"Anyway, no, it was after and before the, um, second time. He said he didn't want to be a freeloader."
"Well, yeah, but like I told him it's not like we just met last month. We weren't best friends or anything, but we're not strangers."
"No. I don't know what to tell you. Wait and see what happens. He may feel like he needs to move into his own place for his own benefit. And it may not last long."
"I guess." She unlocked the front door and tossed her keys aside, walking to the kitchen to get herself some water. "If he doesn't hate me after walking out like that."
"I'm sure he doesn't hate you. It sounds like Riley was out of line, or maybe that's the wrong word. Trying to get you to second guess Graham or something?"
"I don't know. Stupid male stuff. You should have seen Graham this afternoon."
"Well, we were together before going to dinner. Last night was all nice and long and really nice."
"And today wasn't?"
"Well, no, but it was different. More possessive? I'm not sure how sex can come across as being possessive. But it's like knowing Riley's in the vicinity."
"Ah," Willow said and Buffy knew her friend understood. "Was it bad?"
"Well, no, not at all. I told him I should be bothered that he got like that, but that I wasn't. It's just I'm not sure how to handle it. We're bound to run across Riley again."
"Most likely. You have twice already since he left Sunnydale, even if this time was a fluke."
"That's the other thing. I'm not so sure I want to stay in London."
"I'm not sure I can trust Riley not to go back to the government and tell them."
"Ah. Well, we do have a couple of places you can go. You'll have to get the information from Giles, but I know we have places set up globally if we need to cart you off."
"I'll ask him."
"Would you take Graham?"
"If the doctor clears him and he wants to come, yes. I'll make a tour out of it, you know help you collect slayers or something."
"Let me know."
"Okay, and thanks for talking."
"Anytime, you know that. I'm sorry I'm not there to give you a best friend hug."
"I can feel the hug from here anyway."
"Good. It's the vibes I'm sending your way. Knock ‘em dead."
"Thanks, Wil, be careful."
"You know me."
"Yeah, I do, so be careful."
They both laughed and disconnected the call. She changed into something more comfortable then the dress and sat on her bed for her next phone call to Giles. She hated that she didn't trust Riley. Dawn and Xander would have to remove any evidence she lived here. The house while Buffy's was listed under an alias so there was no proof she lived here. It would be Riley's word. It would mean she'd have to stay away for a while most likely. If she knew the government they wouldn't just take Dawn and Xander at their word Buffy didn't live there and leave. They'd come back again and again until they were sure they were being told the truth.
This part of the covert, secret identity thing she could do without. She hadn't had to pack up and move at the drop of a hat since coming here last summer. It seemed her luck had run out. She couldn't risk it, couldn't risk the hard work that she and Giles had done to get things up and running. She sighed audibly, bringing her knees up to her chest as she got comfortable on the bed. Maybe he had a nice place she could go. The Bahamas. Hawaii. Key West. Oh, yeah, those were places she could get into hiding out at.
And as much as she didn't want to admit it, she could easily picture Graham by her side. She wasn't sure it wasn't too soon for that type of thing. The image was there whether it was too soon or not. She just hoped the doctor would grant permission and he'd want to come with her.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com